Located on the edge of Pilsen and Chinatown, 88 Marketplace (2105 S Jefferson St) is a gigantic Chinese grocery store stocked with all kind of imported food and beverages that officially opened last August, in the midst of the pandemic. But the second-floor market isn’t just a place to shop for ingredients—it also hosts an expansive food court, where you’ll find sushi, Hong Kong-style barbecue, Vietnamese pho and Chinese baked goods. While it doesn’t boast the sheer variety of dishes that you’ll find while walking through Chinatown, it’s an extremely convenient spot to sample various cuisines under one roof.
Not sure where to start? During a recent trip to 88 Marketplace, we tasted our way through the majority of stands in its food court—everything except Victory Cafe, a Hong Kong-style diner concept that serves coffee alongside sandwiches, egg tarts and chicken wings on rice. On the first floor of the building, you’ll also find a couple of dine-in concepts that cater to folks looking for a more conventional restaurant experience: Chinese chain Qiao Lin Hotpot (where you can cook meat and veggies at your table in bowls of fragrant broth) and Holu Asian Prime Steakhouse.
Before you dig in, take a peek at this rundown of 88 Marketplace eateries and some menu highlights.
312 Fish Cafe
Unlike most of the vendors on the market’s upper floor—which share a common seating section—this stylish sushi joint boasts its own bar seating area, complete with flat screen TVs playing hip-hop music videos and a funky wall mural. The menu places a self-professed emphasis on large-format party platters, but you’d do just as well to sidle up to the bar for a few rolls, like the torched salmon maki ($11) with avocado and cucumber or the mildly spicy tuna volcano roll ($14). Don’t miss the sunomono salad ($5), either—the classic cucumber and vinegar combo gets a fruity kick from goji berries.—Emma Krupp